Help Advocates for Children Create Magical Moments this Holiday Season

President and CEO of Advocates for Children Rachel Castillo joins co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick on this week’s Around Atlanta segment of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio to discuss the Cartersville-based nonprofit and its many available services for children and families who have been the victims of abuse and neglect. There are a variety of ways people can help Advocates this holiday season through volunteering or donating needed items and funds.

By offering multiple layers of personal care through an array of programs aimed at reducing the incidence of child abuse, Advocates currently serves 11 Northwest Georgia counties providing safety, comfort and hope to more than 8,000 children, youth and families every year.

“Our focus is really on those children and families who have been victims of abuse or neglect,” Castillo said. “Our mission is to strengthen our community through education, advocacy and prevention, so the families can be free from child abuse.”

The organization’s flagship program is the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter, a residential program for at-risk youth including those who have been neglected, abused and/or sexually exploited or who have run away and are homeless. The shelter program’s goal is to provide safe, stable housing within the community by partnering with non-abusive parents, foster parents, relatives and adoptive families while preserving community ties.

With the capacity to house up to 13 children ages 10- to 18-years-old, the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter has a dedicated staff to provide round the clock care every day of the year. Services include trauma-informed case management, individual and family counseling, youth development activities and social and independent living skills, as well as assistance with achieving a high school diploma, GED and college entrance.

Another well-known program of Advocates is Safe Place, a national program serving as the first step in helping at-risk or in-crisis youth. Kids can access help and supportive services by going to a Safe Place location at surrounding gas stations, fire stations, fast food restaurants, libraries, bus stops and grocery stores that display the vibrant yellow and black Safe Place signs.

Additionally, RISE, a new independent housing program for youth ages 18 to 24, is celebrating its first anniversary this year. RISE expands the organization’s capacity to assist youth who age out of the foster care program or lose family support upon becoming a legal adult. Aimed at helping young people who do not have a permanent home, obtain and maintain housing, RISE also helps them become self-sufficient and grow into successful, independent adults.

Given the new normal surrounding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Advocates has had to pivot how it operates. While many organizations immediately shifted gears and contributed to other front-facing emergencies, Advocates experienced a different kind of emergency response.

“We lost some funding in the beginning and we had to cancel some of our large events that were major fundraisers for us, so that has been one of the biggest impacts,” Castillo said. “But through it all, we never stopped any of our services. We decided that our services were so critical that we were just going to keep going forward.”

An easy way to help Advocates during the holidays is to help contribute requested items to the Wish List, such as gift cards, games and toys. House gifts and general donations are also a great way to support Advocates.

To learn more about Advocates for Children and ways to help or contribute, visit, or connect via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, License #22564. NMLS ID #6606. Subject to borrower and property qualifications. Not all applicants will qualify. New American Funding and Advocates for Children are not associated. Click here to view the terms and conditions of products mentioned during the show. Corporate office 14511 Myford Rd., Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. Phone: (800) 450-2010. (August/2020)

New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit

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Mandy Holm

Account Manager at Denim Marketing

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